Natural Language Semantics

, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 141–173

The distribution of quantificational suffixes in Japanese


DOI: 10.1007/s11050-009-9044-8

Cite this article as:
Yatsushiro, K. Nat Lang Semantics (2009) 17: 141. doi:10.1007/s11050-009-9044-8


The existential and universal quantifiers in Japanese both consist of two morphemes: an indeterminate pronoun and a quantificational suffix. This paper examines the distributional characteristics of these suffixes (ka for the existential quantifier and mo for the universal quantifier). It is shown that ka can appear in a wider range of structural positions than mo can. This difference receives explanation on semantic grounds. I propose that mo is a generalized quantifier. More specifically, I assume that the phrase headed by mo is of type \({\langle\langle\alpha, t\rangle, t}\). Because of its type, mo cannot appear in certain structural positions without causing type mismatch. Ka, on the other hand, is a choice function variable of type \({\langle\alpha/t, \alpha\rangle}\), and due to its type, its distribution is not as restricted. One of the consequences of this analysis is that there are no quantifier raising or type shifting operations in Japanese that would adequately obviate type mismatch.


QuantificationIndeterminatesJapanese quantifiers

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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Zentrum für Allgemeine SprachwissenschaftBerlinGermany